Why do American millennials favor socialism more than capitalism?

By Ai Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/7 23:53:39

Bloomberg reported Monday that young Americans are nowadays more positive toward socialism than capitalism. According to the report, "A poll released last month found American millennials closely split on the question of what type of society they would prefer to live in: 44 percent picked a socialist country, 42 percent a capitalist one."

Some argue that US millennials are more favorable toward socialism because they do not know what it means. Can this be so? Perhaps the real reason is that young Americans are disappointed with the circumstances they find themselves in and the current US political environment.

Millennials witnessed the collapse of the global economy in 2008; they might have experienced deep anxiety watching the people around them losing jobs and even their homes. Even years after the recession, the hardship of ordinary people still lingers, with little increase in salaries but soaring medical and tuition fees. A recent Gallup-Healthways poll found that 11.3 percent of US adults didn't have health insurance in the first quarter of this year.

They see the growing gap between the rich and poor, which is why 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders gained considerable support in the primary elections with his socialist-style political views.

More US millenials are pessimistic about capitalism because instead of peace, prosperity and a generous social welfare system, they are shocked by mass shootings and ethnic divisions, alongside a frustrated middle class.

At the same time, political infighting is threatening the country's national interests. Congressional parties show no signs of giving way to one another. Many proposals are vetoed and the government has failed to fulfill many of the commitments it once promised. When Barack Obama was elected president, he pledged to cut the national debt. The truth is that he almost doubled the debt from about $10 trillion in 2009 to over $19 trillion in 2016.

The US system used to have the in-built capability of correcting mistakes. The nation's elites were never afraid of the ills their system would confront, because it has a resilient system. However, facing numerous challenges today, the system is in disorder. Not knowing what socialism means is no more than an excuse for the fact that US millenials are becoming more interested in socialism. The country must face up to its young generation's dissatisfaction with its system.

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